music morsels indie music June 2007



ARTIST NAME: Jeremy Smith of Days Difference
MUSICAL GENRE: Indie pop rock
CDS SOLD: 300 (CD scheduled for release June 5, 2007)
FAN BASE: 500 +

MM: How did Days Difference form?

JS: My brother Jonathan and I used to play in our band in church. One night we went to this gig at a school, and these other two guys (guitarist Jeremiah Ricks and bassist Micah Ricks) had a band and their drummer and keyboardist couldn’t make the show. Since those are the instruments Jonathan and I played, we jumped in and replaced them and that is how this all started.

MM: Did your musical styles mesh right away?

JS: Yes. Basically I started writing songs and it was actually three months after that impromptu gig that we got together again. I had a song idea that I was working on and that is what we started with. Clearly, the music we wrote then is not the same as it is now, but we all had a similar vision and really connected well with each other.

MM: Was the band’s style different when you first started out?

JS: Yes. Jeremiah and Micah were more into the heavier music while we were the antithesis of that, into the softer music. Actually, we all listen to the same music, whether it is hard or soft. It eventually helped us create really effective music. We are not playing hard music by any means, but our heavier influences helped us create the dynamics in our songs. Our bassist has this natural ear which helps the music be a bit more driving and intense in certain aspects, and that challenges me with my songwriting when I tend to get a bit softer. It really works out well.

MM: Did you record any demos before doing the full-fledged CD?

JS: We recorded a few home demos first on this little system. They were just awful, we still have them and laugh about them. (Laughs) Then we actually recorded an EP with this guy Phil Daquie out of Nashville. It was an interesting experience. We didn’t capture exactly what we wanted, but that first experience really pushed us in the right direction as to how we sound now and the new songwriting ideas we have. After that one we did a couple demos of newer songs before we got down to working on the album.

MM: Along with recording, did you start performing live right away, too?

JS: When we first formed in May of 2004 of course it took us a while first to get enough music to play a live show. Our first live show was in September of that year, and generally the reactions were pretty good. Obviously we are a lot better and tighter now than we were then, but we got good initial reactions.

MM: What did you do to start growing that local area fan base that you have now?

JS: Basically just word of mouth. We have a street team that we work with and do a lot of Myspace marketing. We played a lot of shows and handed out business cards at the shows. We also went to shows at the NorVa to see bands who have similar styles. The NorVa is a big venue that has a lot of national bands. We would print up CDs and flyers and hand them out there, and that helped us a lot.

MM: Did that help you play at the NorVa, too?

JS: Yes. We have played there I think six times, and we headlined three of those shows. We opened up for Yellowcard and Amberlin there, and that was a great show.

MM: How did you get on that bill?

JS: The club owner knows our manager and he called him about the show. We had to presell the tickets for the show but that is something they knew we could do and something we have never had a problem with.

MM: Is the Tidewater area a tough market for bands? I see more indie bands popping up in that area. Is this also a market where people may want to start looking for new talent?

JS: There are a couple bands we know personally that are really good and starting to get more popular. Some of the scene there is more metal and hard core. The area in general it is hard to be a band and make money. We have had to pick up playing covers just to get in the clubs, which is kind of understandable because club owners don’t want to pay there if you can’t draw. Local bands don’t get too much support around here unfortunately.

MM: At clubs where you have to get your foot in the door playing covers, do you find you can win the crowd over with your originals as well?

JS: Definitely. Many times people tell us they liked the originals better. So it has been a platform to get new fans in that respect.

MM: You got to play a show on the aircraft carrier USS Truman. How did that come about, and do you feel performing for the military is a viable avenue to promote your music?

JS: Yes. First we really appreciate everything the military has done for our country, and it was an honor just to be able to go and play that show. Our booking agent actually called us at 11:35 in the morning and wanted us to play it because they were in a bind when another band canceled. We had to arrive at the naval base at 1pm to play. We had to go to our storage unit, get our gear loaded up, and somehow we managed to get there in time and start playing at 1:15. It was a great show. There were about 1,500 people there. We got to meet some of the ship’s officers, and I am sure along the way we made some new fans along with getting to thank the military.

MM: Your new CD is about to be released on Black Dog Recordings. Tell us a bit about that.

JS: Black Dog is a label our manager and his business partner started. We are the only one on the imprint right now, and they are waiting to see what happens with us before bringing on anyone else. It has been a good experience working with them. Of course they don’t quite have the financing that a major has, but we do get to work hands on with them with everything, and they are very flexible in that aspect. They listen to our opinion on everything.

MM: What are you doing to get a pre-buzz out there on the CD release, and what are your plans to market it once it is out, beyond what the label will help with?

JS: We have hired a promoter to help get us out more to the internet and to publications. We took out an ad on a front page at, and our distributor is trying to get us some spots on I-Tunes. Locally we are thinking of putting out some television ads, and in July we are going to start touring more beyond the area. A band who wants to get their name out there really has to tour more.

MM: I see you have shows coming up in places like Chicago, Michigan and Georgia where people most likely have never heard of you before. What are you going to do in those towns to wake the world up to Days Difference?

JS: We are going to play the best shows we possibly can. It is really exciting because this is our first time outside the area, so we are going to do everything to give a great first impression and just give it our best in all aspects. We’ll do internet promotions and whatever else we can do in those areas to get the word out and try to create some vibe before we get there.

MM: Do you feel that Days Difference has what it takes to become a successful band, and what do you feel it will take to achieve that success?

JS: I think we do have what it takes to be a successful band. I know people say “shoot for the stars” and it would be nice to see us as a household name someday and have platinum records. As far as what it will take to get there, we need to be smart business wise and really work smart as well with the money we spend with promotions. We need to work hard overall and keep going and continue to try. If you really believe in something and think it can work, then I think with enough hard work and passion you can make it happen.

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